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CWC 2023, Semi-Final 2, SA vs AUS: SA lose another semi-final; Australia through to 8th final

CWC 2023, Semi-Final 2, South Africa vs Australia: David Miller's 101, Mithcell Starc-Josh Hazlewood's combined 5-46 and Travis Head's 62 & 2-21 are top performances. Australia beat South Africa and advance to 8th World Cup final.

CWC 2023, Australia vs South Africa: Australia beat South Africa in semi-final and will face India in Finals | Walking Wicket (Photo_ ©X_Twitter)
Australia to face India in Finals (Photo: ©X/Twitter)

Brief Scores: AUS 215/7 (Head 62, Smith 30, Shamsi 2/42) beat SA 212 (Miller 106, Head 2/21) by 3 wickets.

Player of the Match: Travis Head (62 off 48 & 2/21)

On 16th November 2023, Eden witnessed a worthy semi-final! Unfortunately, it concluded with a heartbreak for South Africa, adding to their unfortunate record in World Cup knockouts. Meanwhile, the formidable Australia, a relentless force with their eighth consecutive win, advances to the final. This game had all the excitement, with thrills and spills galore.

In their head-to-head encounters, Australia equals South Africa with 3-3. One game between them ended in a draw.

Talking point: Bavuma's bemusing move of not bringing Maharaj & Shamsi earlier

Bavuma's decisions today are utterly unacceptable! Making the significantly misguided choice of delaying the spinners ultimately resulted in South Africa losing the chance to secure a spot in the World Cup 2023 final. How lethal spin was; the Shamsi-Maharaj duo illustrated that in the remaining overs. But in vain, as the game had got way out of the hands of the proteas in the first 10 overs of the game itself.

After several ups and downs, Australia makes it to their 8th straight win

Opting to bat, South Africa found themselves in unexpected conditions reminiscent of Test matches in England, with clouds hovering in the sky. Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood took advantage, reducing South Africa to 24/4 early on, raising concerns of a repeat of the 2007 semi-final. 

However, David Miller and Henrich Klaasen, aided by a rain break, stabilized with a crucial 95-run partnership. But momentum shifted again when Pat Cummins introduced Travis Head, who swiftly took 2 wickets in 2 balls in his first over. Despite the setback, Miller's remarkable innings, particularly against Adam Zampa, with 5 sixes, gave South Africa something to fight with.

South Africa fought valiantly and tirelessly but was insufficient to surpass Australia. Although the game so deep, with just 212 on the board, deserves applause, they cannot ignore that their total was at least 20-30 runs short on this surface. 

Head and Warner provided a flying start for Australia, and their impact at the top of the order could have been pivotal. Markram broke the partnership, and Maharaj dismissed the dangerous Head, swinging the game back in South Africa's favor. 

The momentum kept shifting between the two sides, especially as Shamsi and Maharaj found a significant turn. Labuschagne and Maxwell's quick dismissals left Australia at 119/5. But then Smith and Inglis soaked in the pressure to get the team off the hook. Ultimately, Australia won with 3 wickets to spare.

Let’s glance at the top three performances from the game between Australia and South Africa in CWC 2023.

CWC 2023, Australia vs South Africa_ David Miller scored century (101 runs) against Australia in Semi-final _ Walking Wicket (Photo_ ©X_Twitter)
Miller scored century (101 runs) against Australia in Semi-final (Photo: ©X/Twitter)
Miller's resilience shines amid adversity

In Eden's challenging batting conditions during the 2023 World Cup second semifinal against Australia, David Miller's much-needed century propelled South Africa to a total of 212. Opting to bat, South Africa struggled at 24/4 on the Eden Gardens surface, conducive to both seamers and spinners. However, Miller's remarkable sixth ODI hundred played a pivotal role in the team's recovery.

After the early setback of four wickets, David Miller and Heinrich Klaasen formed a resilient 95-run partnership, capitalizing on Adam Zampa's inconsistent lengths. Miller, reaching a century off 115 balls with 8 fours and 5 sixes, showcased a memorable World Cup knockout innings. 

Despite falling shortly after his milestone and attempting to pull a short ball from Pat Cummins, Miller's impact was significant. A 53-run stand between Miller and Gerald Coetzee for the seventh wicket further boosted South Africa's total. Miller's aggressive batting, particularly against Zampa, was crucial in steering South Africa to a competitive score.

Mitch-Josh combo creates mayhem with joint 6 wickets

Cummins wanted to bat under overcast skies, but he realized batting in these conditions wouldn’t have been easy. Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood wasted no time in illustrating the challenges of facing the new ball. In the first over itself, Bavuma, lasting only five deliveries, edged behind off Starc for a duck. However, on the other end, Hazlewood posed a bigger threat.

Hazlewood's initial spell boasted figures of 6-1-12-2, dismissing de Kock (caught at mid-on after a series of dot balls) and Rassie van der Dussen (edged to second slip). 

Starc, on the opposite end, bowled seven consecutive overs, securing 2 for 18 in his first spell. The new-ball bowlers maintained precise lines and lengths, coupled with Australia's exceptional fielding, resulting in South Africa struggling at 18/2 after 10 overs. The first boundary of the match arrived after a patience of 53 balls.

Thus, Mitchell Starc ended his spell, picking up three wickets at an economy of 3.4. Josh Hazlewood also bagged two wickets at a terrific economy of 1.5 only. Their combined partnership helped folding South Africa for a mere 212 runs.

CWC 2023, Australia vs South Africa_ Travis Head gets player of the match in semi-final against South Africa _ Walking Wicket (Photo_ ©X_Twitter)
Head gets player of the match in semi-final against South Africa (Photo: ©X/Twitter)
Head’s all-around performance with bat and ball seals the deal for Australia

Travis Head significantly impacted today's game, showcasing his all-round prowess. With the ball, he intervened during South Africa's attempt to strengthen their position amidst the Klaasen-Miller partnership. Head disrupted their plans by dismissing Klaasen, uprooting his stumps, and then his next delivery swiftly sending Jansen packing with a leg-before-wicket dismissal on the first ball. 

At the chase, Head's aggressive counterattack from the first power play nearly extinguished the opposition's chase. As a result, the asking run rate went completely out of the picture. In an adventurous innings marked by belligerent strokes and a dropped chance, he concluded with a commendable 62 runs off 48 balls, boasting a strike rate of 129.17, including 9 fours and two sixes.

Statistical Highlights from the Australia vs South Africa game:
  • The fifth wicket partnership of 95 between Heinrich Klaasen & David Miller is the third-highest for this wicket for South Africa in the Cricket World Cup

  • David Miller registered the second-highest individual score at number 6 for South Africa in the Cricket World Cup.  

  • Miller is the first centurion in the Cricket World Cup knockouts for South Africa.

  • David Warner joins the list of scoring 500 plus runs in two or more consecutive Cricket World Cups.

  • Miller now has the second most ODI sixes for South Africa.

  • David Miller has two hundred in CWC at number 5 or below, second-most in this category.

  • Miller equals Eoin Morgan for most ODI hundreds against Australia by a number 5 batter or below. 

What’s to Come:

On November 19th, India and Australia will face off in Ahmedabad's 2023 Cricket World Cup final. 

India enters the final riding a 10-match winning streak, while Australia remains unbeaten for eight games. It promises to be an absolute thriller, showcasing the pinnacle of cricket competition.

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